March 27, 2005



London Telegraph:

The French judge who first uncovered the corruption scandal engulfing the country's most senior politicians has claimed that bribery and cronyism are still rife at the highest levels of government.

Eric Halphen, whose investigations into kickbacks from public works programmes led to a number of President Jacques Chirac's closest allies going on trial last week, said that the prosecutions "in no way" signalled an end to the corruption that has blighted French politics for decades...

...Investigating judges have said that there is "strong and concordant evidence" that Mr Chirac was at the very least aware of the kickback scheme.

They established in 2001 that he had paid the equivalent of about £330,000 in cash for dozens of luxury family holidays between 1992 and 1995. The source of this money has never been established.

They also unearthed evidence that Mr Chirac had spent about £3,500 of City Hall funds each week on family groceries, including foie gras and truffles, much of it paid for in cash. Some of the reimbursed food bills were found to have been faked.

Mr Chirac may still face charges in connection with a fake job scam while he was the mayor of Paris, and could lose his immunity from prosecution when his presidency ends in 2007. Yet his success in avoiding indictment has led to scepticism that "Supermenteur" (Super-liar), as his critics call him, will ever face a court.

(via The Corner)

Posted by dan at March 27, 2005 6:08 PM